DEFRA / Natural England

Report: the impact of moorland grazing and stocking rates

Natural England acknowledges that there remains concern and disagreement about the effects of grazing on the upland landscape and biodiversity, in particular about stocking rates, different livestock types, and the timing and spatial pattern of grazing regimes. The purpose of this report was to comprehensively review the effects of different grazing regimes and stocking rates

Land Management Update - latest issue

The latest issue of Natural England’s Land Management Update is now avaialble

In this issue the main features include:

Some good new for upland farmers

RDPE Transition - Environmental Stewardship

The current Rural Development Programme (RDP) is due to finish at the end of this year, but the next RDP will not start until 2015.  Pending agreement on the legal basis and rural development budgets, Defra are planning to offer £30 million to spend on Environmental Stewardship in 2014, which is very welcome news for hill farmers in the Lake District and other upland

The bulk of this (£26 million) will be spent on top priority Higher Level Stewardship (HLS) agreements, to be targeted at:

Progress on Natural England's Uplands Delivery Review

Natural England has been undertaking a review of Uplands evidence and have published their findings

This is the first of Natural England’s evidence reviews and it addresses 5 topics which were identified with stakeholder input.  It reflects on areas of advice that are subject to challenge and looks at what could make a difference on the ground.

The publication includes the methodology and the assurance process as well as the five topic reviews.

Defra to meet the cost of removing sheep killed in snow

Update from National Sheep Association (NSA).

Final Application dates for HLS and UELS/ELS and news scheme development

Curent schemes

The current agri-environment scheme ends on 31st December 2013. The final application date for ELS is 1st September 2013. HLS applications should already be in train.

Federation response to Defra EU review of LFAs

The Federation has sent its response to the Defra consultation on EU review of Less Favoured Areas.

We’ve asked our members to look at the new maps and see if it will affect them and it doesn’t as all the common land remains within the new classification called Areas if Natural Constraint.

LFA designation in the spotlight after 40 years - let us know what you think

A new Government consultation on the way LFAs are designated is in process. The European Commission has proposed to replace LFAs with a new designation known as Areas of Natural Constraint (ANC). This requires a mapping exercise to ensure that land which is agriculturally disadvantaged is captured under the new ANC designation.  LFA land is typically associated with the Uplands of England, but changes may see some designated areas lose their status and new areas come in as agricultural land facing constraint may be located anywhere in the country.

Natural England reminds farmers in ES schemes that they can supplementary feed their livestock in severe cold weather

Natural England has confirmed that in the event of further heavy snowfall this winter then livestock farmers - who may have an agri-environment agreement that includes restrictions on carrying out supplementary feeding - would be able to provide their livestock with additional feed.  This would be a temporary relaxation for the duration of any severe cold weather period and it will not be necessary to contact Natural England for consent before carrying out supplementary feeding under these circumstances.

Tim Farron says Government must act quicker to help farmers on common land

South Lakes MP Tim Farron has called on the Government to take action to help farmers who have part of their farm wrongly labelled as 'common land'.

Tim Farron has been lobbying the Government on this issue. However, DEFRA Minster Richard Benyon MP has now said in a ministerial reply that the rules will not be changed until 2015 at the earliest.

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